TCM, Net programmer to simulcast pics

The Turner Classic Movies cable network and Internet streaming-media programmer Broadcast.com will team Tuesday to air several classic films and specials on their Web sites, the first being “Casablanca.”

The cabler will kick off its classic movie marathon, called “Between the Scenes,” with “Casablanca” at 8 p.m. “Singin’ in the Rain” follows at 10 p.m., “High Noon” at midnight and “Citizen Kane” at 1:30 a.m.

But in an unusual move, TCM will simultaneously air “Casablanca” on its TCM.turner.com Web site and on Broadcast.com’s site through streaming video.

In addition, presentations of behind-the-scenes trivia related to the latter three films will air through the Web sites, as the films air on the network, enabling viewers to learn about the films’ productions as they view them.

Broadcast.com attracts nearly 500,000 users a day who view or listen to the site’s streaming movies, videos, concerts, CDs and news broadcasts. TCM can currently be seen in nearly 30 million homes.

Microsoft sponsor

TCM’s Webcast is sponsored by Microsoft, whose Windows Media Player is required to watch the film on the Internet and can be downloaded from the TCM Web site.

Whether many individuals will watch the films on the Internet is debatable. Streaming video is still too “jerky” for most computer users and only individuals with fast Internet connections can fully enjoy the video.

Several feeds

To accommodate anticipated site traffic, Broadcast.com will provide several feeds of the movies ranging from 28 kbps to a high-speed multicast at 300 kbps. Multicast feeds are available to members of Broadcast.com’s numerous multicast ISP partners, including UUNET’s UUCast service, MSN Internet Access and CyberRamp.

“TCM is proud to join with Broadcast.com to help take a classic film like ‘Casablanca’ into the next century with the rapidly growing technology of streaming media on the Internet,” said Tom Karsch, TCM’s senior veep and general manager. “This special Web event will give people who don’t get TCM a chance to take part in this unique and exciting movie-watching experience.”

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